Allegations Of HIV Tainted Food At Jail

Posted at 7:12 PM, May 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-22 19:57:27-04

Jeremy Merithew, the man already convicted of two counts of exposing his sexual partner to HIV without disclosing his status is making news again.

This time, possibly exposing other inmates.

A man who shares a jail floor with Merithew said he was giving away special food he’d been given for medical reasons to as many as four to five men, possibly tainted with his body fluids.

“I lost it. I still have been going through breakdown after breakdown,” said Bailey.

Robert Bailey is in the Kent County Jail on a misdemeanor charge awaiting sentencing.

He was told about two days ago he may have eaten a sandwich that was tainted by fellow inmate, Jeremy Merithew.

“He made a statement to somebody here, saying he had put seminal fluid inside the sandwiches to intentionally infect us with HIV,” said Bailey.

Merithew was recently convicted of intentionally not disclosing his HIV status to a sex partner and using a computer to commit a crime.

While he was awaiting that trial, FOX 17 caught him violating bond by soliciting sex without mentioning his status on the gay website

His history makes the other inmates nervous about the accusations.

“We all feel like we`re stranded here. We`re sitting here wondering our lives are going to be changed,” said Bailey.

Bailey said corrections officers told him and four to five others that they should be tested for HIV, Hepatitis C, syphilis and gonorrhea.

He showed us the testing form he’d been given from the jail authorizing the blood test.

He said since the accusations came to light, Merithew was separated from the others.

“Right now he is in what`s called a DSU which is a disciplinary segregation unit. What that is,” said Bailey, ” is that he will be separated for seven days,”.

Bailey wanted to know how Merithew was allowed to be in a medium security pod like his in the first place, given his history.

“One of the biggest questions that we have first off, given the malicious nature of his crime, ‘why was he in a unit which was medium security when he`s been known to use his body as a weapon basically?'” said Bailey.

We spoke with Undersheriff Jon Hess about the inmate’sconcerns regarding sharing a space with Merithew.

“All the inmates who come in the jail are classified. It`s based on risk and need, said Hess. “If you come in and you need certain treatments or you have certain charges, past felony charges, or assaults against persons, you`re placed based on your risks to the facility to the staff to other inmates. I`m sure he`s in an area that meets those specific risk and need factors to live with other people.”

Although he couldn’t confirm whether or not Merithew was the one under investigation, Hess also said if there is a problem that Merithew has created, he can be moved immediately.

“We move people any time there`s an investigation going on,” said Hess.

As for the new allegations against Merithew, his attorney said they are unfounded.

She released this statement:

“It is not unusual for some inmates to make false criminal allegations about another inmate in an attempt to be able to obtain a plea bargain or other special treatment in exchange for the information.”

The allegations, “…are not only false, but made by another inmate for that purpose.”

Hess said they will be forwarding the results of their investigation on to prosecutors.

Bailey said more than 60 men share the unit he is in with Merithew.

“It`s just such a scary situation. That’s something in my worst nightmare I would have never of thought of, coming to jail and having to leave with another disease you know,” said Bailey.

Hess confirmed the tainted food in question was being tested, but couldn’t release the results of that test.